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Sheldrake Confronts the Dawkins' Delusion

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  • 888
    Dr. Rupert Sheldrake describes the behavior of the atheist propagandist, Richard Dawkins, when he is confronted with evidence of the paranormal :
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 2, 2008
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      Dr. Rupert Sheldrake describes the behavior of the atheist
      propagandist, Richard Dawkins, when he is confronted with evidence of
      the "paranormal":


      http://www.sheldrake.org/D&C/controversies/Dawkins.html

      Sheldrake:
      Richard seemed uneasy and said, "I'm don't want to discuss evidence".
      "Why not?" I asked. "There isn't time. It's too complicated. And
      that's not what this programme is about." The camera stopped.

      Rupert observes:
      Should science be a vehicle of prejudice, a kind of fundamentalist
      belief-system? Or should it be a method of enquiry into the unknown?

      -Bruce
    • Stephen Hale
      ... of ... evidence . ... unknown? ... Bruce, I was wondering if you had ever heard of a fellow named Hans Driesch? The reason that I ask is because only
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 3, 2008
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        --- In anthroposophy@yahoogroups.com, "888" <fireofthe12@...> wrote:
        >
        > Dr. Rupert Sheldrake describes the behavior of the atheist
        > propagandist, Richard Dawkins, when he is confronted with evidence
        of
        > the "paranormal":
        >
        >
        > http://www.sheldrake.org/D&C/controversies/Dawkins.html
        >
        > Sheldrake:
        > Richard seemed uneasy and said, "I'm don't want to discuss
        evidence".
        > "Why not?" I asked. "There isn't time. It's too complicated. And
        > that's not what this programme is about." The camera stopped.
        >
        > Rupert observes:
        > Should science be a vehicle of prejudice, a kind of fundamentalist
        > belief-system? Or should it be a method of enquiry into the
        unknown?
        >
        > -Bruce

        Bruce, I was wondering if you had ever heard of a fellow named Hans
        Driesch? The reason that I ask is because only Rupert Sheldrake
        ever makes reference to this man, who was the founder of
        experimental embryology in the same way that Goethe was the one-time
        recognized founder of the science of morphology?

        Steve
      • 888
        ... No I haven t heard of him, Steve. Is there a site you recommend?
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 5, 2008
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          > Bruce, I was wondering if you had ever heard of a fellow named Hans
          > Driesch? The reason that I ask is because only Rupert Sheldrake
          > ever makes reference to this man, who was the founder of
          > experimental embryology in the same way that Goethe was the one-time
          > recognized founder of the science of morphology?

          No I haven't heard of him, Steve.
          Is there a site you recommend?
        • Stephen Hale
          ... [The image “http://cache.eb.com/eb/image?id=12238” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.] Driesch, Hans Adolf Eduard(1867–1941)
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 11, 2008
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            --- In anthroposophy@yahoogroups.com, "888" <fireofthe12@...> wrote:
            >
            > > Bruce, I was wondering if you had ever heard of a fellow named Hans
            > > Driesch? The reason that I ask is because only Rupert Sheldrake
            > > ever makes reference to this man, who was the founder of
            > > experimental embryology in the same way that Goethe was the one-time
            > > recognized founder of the science of morphology?
            >
            > No I haven't heard of him, Steve.
            > Is there a site you recommend?

            The image “http://cache.eb.com/eb/image?id=12238” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

            Driesch, Hans Adolf Eduard(1867–1941)

            Hans Adolf Eduard Driesch, perhaps the outstanding representative of neovitalism, was born at Bad Kreuznach, Germany. His father, Paul Driesch, was a merchant in Hamburg. From 1877 Hans Driesch attended the Johanneum (a humanist gymnasium) in his native city, graduating with honors in 1886. He then studied zoology, first under A. Weismann at Freiburg, then at Munich, and finally under Ernst Haeckel at Jena, receiving his Ph.D. in 1889; his dissertation was titled "Tektonische Studien an Hydroidpolypen" (Tectonic studies of hydroid polyps).

            Development of Driesch's Thought

            Reacting to arguments advanced by G. Wolff, W. His, and A. Goette, Driesch early became skeptical of Haeckel's mechanistic interpretation of the organism. The work of Wilhelm Roux, in particular, induced him to explore the whole vitalism-mechanism issue. Driesch's first publication, Die mathematisch-mechanische Behandlung morphologischer Probleme der Biologie (Mathematico-mechanical treatment of morphological problems of biology; Jena, 1890), led to a break with Haeckel. Then, following Roux's example, Driesch put the embryogenetic theory of His and Weismann to an experimental test. His and Weismann had held that morphogenetic development of the living organism could be explained by assuming that a specifically organized yet invisible structure of great complexity is contained in the nucleus of the germ cell and that the gradual unfolding of this structure, through nuclear division, determines the course of every ontogeny.

            Roux's experiments, in 1888, had seemed to confirm this theory of "tectonic preformation." When he destroyed one of the blastomeres at the two-cell stage, the remaining one would develop into a half embryo—either the left half or the right half, depending on which blastomere had been destroyed. Driesch merely intended to provide further confirmation of these facts. But where Roux had experimented with the egg of a frog, Driesch used eggs of the sea urchin. Against all expectations he found that each blastomere of the two-cell stage of a sea urchin egg developed into a whole embryo half the normal size. This was the opposite of Roux's results and was irreconcilable with the His-Weismann theory.

            While at the Marine Biological Station in Naples from 1891 to 1900, Driesch continued his experimental investigations, confirming and reconfirming in startling ways his earlier findings, and began to formulate his own theory. Relevant to the development of his ideas was a study of Otto Liebmann's book Analysis der Wirklichkeit (Analysis of reality) and of the writings of Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer, René Descartes, John Locke, and David Hume.

            Alois Riehl's Kritizismus (Criticism) provided the springboard for Driesch's own theoretical efforts. The first results were published in 1893 under the title Die Biologie als selbständige Grundwissenschaft (Biology as an independent basic science; Leipzig). This book was followed by Analytische Theorie der organischen Entwicklung (Analytic theory of organic development; Leipzig, 1894), which contains the first formulation of Driesch's own teleologically oriented embryological theory. But as yet this was a theory of "preformed teleology," not a vitalistic interpretation of embryological development. Only in 1895 did it dawn on Driesch that mechanistic principles could not account for his experimental findings.

            Up to this time Driesch had accepted a "machine" theory of organismic development. Now he realized that such a theory would not do. In an essay titled "Die Maschinentheorie des Lebens" (The machine theory of life; in Biologisches Zentralblatt 16 [1896]: 353–368) he formulated as precisely as possible the view he had held so far, a view that he did not yet regard as vitalism. His first formulation of a dynamically teleological, and therefore genuinely vitalistic, theory was published under the title Die Lokalisation morphogenetischer Vorgänge, ein Beweis vitalistischen Geschehens (The localization of morphogenetic processes, a proof of vitalistic developments; Leipzig, 1899).

            In this book Driesch introduced the concept of the "harmonious equipotential system" and the proof that such a system cannot be accounted for in terms of mechanistic principles. The publication of 1899 thus marked the end of one period in Driesch's intellectual development and the beginning of another.

            Gradually his interest in experimental work ceased. He now searched the literature in the field of physiology for possible proof that a "machine" theory could provide an adequate explanation of the phenomena of life. He found none, as his two books Die organischen Regulationen (Organic regulations; Leipzig, 1901) and Die "Seele" als elementarer Naturfaktor (The "soul" as elementary factor of nature; Leipzig, 1903) show. However, the conception of the "autonomy" of life had now to be justified within the broader framework of natural science. Driesch provided this justification in a book titled Naturbegriffe und Natururteile (Concepts of nature and judgments of nature; Leipzig, 1904). In 1905 he published Der Vitalismus als Geschichte und als Lehre (The History and Theory of Vitalism), in which he summed up his position against a historical background. That same year he "resolved to become a philosopher." His Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen in 1907–1908, published in 1908 as The Science and Philosophy of the Organism, provided a splendid opportunity to present his position in systematic form.

            From 1908 on, Driesch was concerned exclusively with philosophical problems. In 1909 he became a Privatdozent at Heidelberg and in 1912 a member of the university's philosophical faculty. In 1912, also, he published his basic philosophical work, Ordnungslehre (Theory of order). This was followed by Die Logik als Aufgabe (Logic as a task; Tübingen, 1913) and, in 1917, by Wirklich-keitslehre (Theory of reality). These three books together—ranging as they do over the fields of epistemology, logic, and metaphysics—embody the whole of Driesch's philosophical system, but they do not mark the end of his intellectual development. In Leib und Seele (Body and soul; 1916) Driesch set forth his definitive arguments against every "psycho-mechanical parallelism," and in Wissen und Denken (Knowing and thinking; Leipzig, 1919) he clarified and expanded his epistemological position.

            In 1919 Driesch accepted a chair of systematic philosophy at the University of Cologne and in 1921 assumed a similar post at the University of Leipzig. During 1922–1923 he was a visiting professor in China. In 1926–1927 he lectured in the United States and in Buenos Aires. Being out of sympathy with the Nazi regime, ideologically and politically, he was retired in 1933. Hitler could not tolerate a thinker who fervently believed that nationalism was but "an obstacle to the realization of the one state of God." During the time of changing appointments, Driesch became interested more and more in problems of psychology and parapsychology. Books published in 1932 and 1938 reflect this development.

            --From The Encyclopedia of Philosophy--


             

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